Frame My Scene

edited September 2006 in Play Advice
It's example time!

Here's how this thread works. Someone posts a goal, free-play action, or scene-request from a player. Then someone else posts the framing for that scene, to show how "aggressive scene framing" works. Multiple frames from a given goal are cool. Anyone can play, but I'd love see some action from Tony, Ron, Vincent, Clinton, Matt... and any other old-hands at this. If there's not enough to go on in a given goal or request, feel free to flesh it out to your satisfaction and then show the scene-framing from there.

I'll start:
"I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

Comments

  • edited September 2006

    Dude, fun exercise! I'm so in.

    "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    Righty. So that evening you're at the workshop of Reginald the master glassblower because you've heard that Reginald's wife, Anna, has been fooling around with one of the castle guards. You figure Anna must know some way of getting in the castle, right? You see her on the far side of the workshop carefully sorting all colors of broken glass when Reginald takes a break from his furnace to come over and shake your hand. He introduces himself and then asks you what he can do for you.

    I'm looking forward to seeing how much variation we get in framing scenes for the same goal.

  • "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    Okay. You're in his castle, pulling the body of the guard you knocked unconscious toward a convenient closet when you hear the Count's voice approaching. Rather than get into a duel with him, you jump into the closet with the guard, and close the door all but a sliver. As he walks by he's talking with someone ... "With the access that you give me to their little group, these Rebels will soon be an unpleasant memory. You are sure that they do not suspect you?"
  • Me: How do you want to get into the castle?

    Player: I want to sneak in, I bought my sneak up to the highest levels allowed.

    Me (knowing the player has a flag concerning a noble-woman): You are sneaking in, past the walls and you hear the guards mention a new hostage brought to the Count's castle after a recent border skirmish he won. Her banner, the same banner as your secret and forbidden lady-love, is flying in the wind above the north tower. The Hand of Flame is stored in the South Tower; you can feel its unholy heat from here.

    What do you do?
  • edited September 2006
    Edited to clean up threadcrap with doggie poop bag.
    If there's not enough to go on in a given goal or request, feel free to flesh it out to your satisfaction and then show the scene-framing from there.
    "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    I'm just gonna meta for a sec. Judd above fleshes this out with the assumption that the character is a total sneak. Tony interprets "let's sneak" as "let's say that happens automatically." That latter one interests me a lot, since it implies some things, and Tony, if you're still reading, I'd love some followup.


    Me: Okay, so you want to sneak, huh? Do you actually have sneaking abilities?

    John: No, but, um, nudge, wink, I have The Key of the Perpetual Prisoner.

    Brandon: I do! I have awesome sneaking, and the Secret of the Skulking Serpent.

    Me: Aha! Okay, then here we go. It's dark, and you're outside the castle walls, and there's guards all over the place. Your characters have become separated by a few dozen paces as you've crept from rosebush to rosebush, with Brandon's character ahead, and John's, managing to snag his cloak on every thorn, lagging behind. There's a full moon that occasionally pops out from behind some dense clouds, forcing you to time your sneakery very carefully. What do you do?
  • "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    It was not hard at all to pass as extra help before the grand celebration of his daughter's debut. It was a snap to get past the bored guards, who spent much more time looking at the noble ladies and flirting with the cooks and dancers. What was tough, was getting past all the ladies-in-waiting, hand servants, hair dressers and tailors. In fact, you manage to just barely avoid another herd of them, ducking through a doorway into a dark, starlight room.

    "It's rude to invade a lady's space, especially before her debut". No, the hard part is the Count's daughter has caught you, and she wears the ruby Hand of Flame, not about her neck, but on her wrist...
  • Hey, Chris skipped the sneakery too! You and Tony gotta tell us what prompted that choice.

    Here's a new one to riff on. I'm using a version of this for a conflict example in Galactic, so I thought it'd be fun to see how it's framed.

    "We've just been captured by Kito the Kowski, the notorious alien gangster, and we need to escape his fortress."
  • edited September 2006

    Hey, Chris skipped the sneakery too! You and Tony gotta tell us what prompted that choice.

    I'd like to talk about that too. If I heard a player tell me that they wanted to sneak into the castle, I assume that they want to go through the process of actually doing the sneaking. But apparently not everyone makes the same assumption.

  • edited September 2006
    They're very explicit and clear about what they want: "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count."

    If they phrased it as "I want to sneak into the castle. That way we'll be able to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count." then I'd frame to an entirely different scene. Make sense?

    EDIT: Honestly, I should have framed even more aggressively ... I should have framed to a point where they get a chance to get the Hand of Flame back. But I was weak :-(
  • I feel there's a weakness in this thread, something that I have formulated several responses but never sent them in.

    Devoid of context, this exercise is fairly meaningless. The difference between a good frame and a bad one is to a great extent determined by the flags that it flies... and we don't have any. Judd's answer addressed this issue but didn't go far enough, I think. Matt's answer addressed it a little better.

    To better formulate the scene, let's have some character flags/issues too, especially ones that aren't clearly related to the goal.

    For Matt's goal, I'll suggest a character issue: "I want people to understand that I'm a caring soul, even when the voices in my head make me kill them."
  • Okay folks, new scene to frame, complete with (as Fred wisely suggests) character issues.

    Internal: "I don't deserve happiness." Kyle is a (mostly) reformed bike-ganger, trying to go straight and take high school seriously, but he thinks of himself as a bad person (and so do the authorities) and so he expects to fail.

    Relationship: "You don't listen to me!" Kyle keeps getting dragged into Vicky's crazy schemes, because no matter what he says she just keeps rolling in her own little world and somehow drags him along.

    External: "Something is lost." Vicky kidnapped the school's goat mascot because (her words!) "He never gets to get out and play!" They took him to the park near the mall, but he got off his tether and ran into the mall.

    Kyle's Goal: "CATCH THE DAMN GOAT BEFORE ANYONE REALIZES WHAT'S HAPPENED!"

    Frame me a scene!
  • edited September 2006
    Tony sez:If they phrased it as "I want to sneak into the castle. That way we'll be able to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count." then I'd frame to an entirely different scene. Make sense?
    That does make sense Tony. But I don't think it means that, given the other version of the statement, the player in question couldn't be dissapointed if you skipped over half of what they had requested. I took it to mean that the player wanted both the Hand of Flame and the Sneaking, not one or the other.

    In the very same line of thinking, I think that there *were* flags in those two sentences. Without any other context I can assume that the player thought that displaying their character's sneakyness and obtaining the Hand was important to them. Granted, with more flags and motivations at hand, we can frame even better scenes. But I wouldn't take additional flags as a reason to ignore the immediate goal or request.

    I'd really like to discuss this more, but I'm feeling like a hijacker. Should we bring it to another thread?
  • Posted By: Eric ProvostI'd really like to discuss this more, but I'm feeling like a hijacker. Should we bring it to another thread?
    Done.
  • edited September 2006
    "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    How I'd frame something like this is so dependent on the particulars of the situation- and perhaps more significantly, the preferences and tastes of the player- that I find it a little hard to riff just one possible frame for it. I'm sort of inclined to a series of 'micro-scenes', but starting the frame with the scene from the 'middle'- starting it as the character dives into the first open door in a long hallway to avoid a guard patrol, to be greeted by a wry comment like "You're almost too good looking to be the Count's physician... but I suppose you'd best begin the examination, eh?" Flash back to the first scene- getting in. Then cut back to the opening scene, in the room dealing with whoever happens to be there. Then cutting to the last scene in the Count's trophy room. I love messing with flashbacks and flashforwards, but if I'd already abused this too much in the session, then I'd just start with the ducking into the wrong room, and then after some interaction, force the action with the arrival of the real physician.

    -B
  • In my example, I asked, okay, what do you want to use to get in?

    That's important, it let's the player know that I don't think he should just waltz on in, it allows the player to find a hand-hold with the castle and let's me know what they find exciting. I inserted flags to make the post make more sense to me and make it easier. The flags were the sneak skill bought up to the highest possible levels and the noble-lady.

    So, from that, i know they want to sneak.

    If they have the Key of Contacts (TSoY) or really high Circles (BW) or an Edge who is a mercenary (PTA) we could riff off of that.

    And, we could absolutely skip to them in the room with the hand of flame, conversing with this infernal item that is beckoning them to cut off their own hand and light the world afire. Absolutely. If they had a flag on their sheet about the Hand of Flame specifically and I knew that is where the kewl was, I'd go right for it.

    Honestly, I didn't feel like we had enough. We didn't have character sheets, body language or contect and all of that is so important for scene framing, vital even.

    So, what I think we need for a scene frame thread:

    Flags (player-authored tidbits on the character sheet, body language, excitement in their voice)
    Context (what player decisions got you here)
    Intent (what does the player say they or their character wants?)
  • Hey guys- here's something to think about- I skipped sneaking in, because it's always more fun to play the sneaking back out when there's a MacGuffin to be had.
  • Posted By: John Harper"I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"
    The next morning, the sun peeks through the bars of the cells where you've been imprisoned. Jed has a nasty cut over his left eye; Ginny's dress is all slashed up, and Tomas is just angry. Okay, what went wrong?

    Then the players can roleplay a scene of finger-pointing and recriminations.
    Posted By: Matt Wilson"We've just been captured by Kito the Kowski, the notorious alien gangster, and we need to escape his fortress."
    Matt... I think that is a scene frame. ;)
    Posted By: TonyLB"CATCH THE DAMN GOAT BEFORE ANYONE REALIZES WHAT'S HAPPENED!"
    The goat of course heads directly for the in-mall petting zoo. Mall security is standing nearby. They have a laugh about how one of the goats escaped and are presently leading it back into the pen.
  • "CATCH THE DAMN GOAT BEFORE ANYONE REALIZES WHAT HAPPENED"

    Vicky is skipping around the fountain where onlookers give the goat a wide birth. A gaggle of silver-haired marms in matching fleece "jogging" suits scowl at the girl while she sings "Mary had a Little Goat." You can see down the long corridor that there are figures engulfed in the light from the outside doors. There is no mistaking two of the figures blue shirts, their badges glinting. The goat looks at you. He is standing in the mini-golf display with the lawnjockey's plaid knickers in his mouth. He pauses while the sporting store's manager comes out to rearrange a rack, apparently unaware of the goat's intrusion.
  • edited September 2006
    This thread is going very well! These are just the right things for us to be talking about. Fred, I totally disagree that this is all meaningless without context. But more flags are fine, of course, and thanks for suggesting that.

    As I said in the first post, if there's stuff missing that you need (and duh, of course there is) then make it up. Show us what you made up so you could frame the scene (like Judd and Matt did). Or, just frame with what you've got (as Tony and others did). It's all good. Rock on with your bad selves.
  • "CATCH THE DAMN GOAT BEFORE ANYONE REALIZES WHAT HAPPENED"

    Vicky led the goat to a flower stand in the park, where it promptly started eating the flowers. It went through about half the flowers before the owner screamed for the police, since Vicky refused to pay.

    Kyle arrives as a police officer is arresting Vicky. He recognizes the officer as someone he kept running into before he reformed, and who still thinks he's just a delinquent.
  • "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    "Okay, you're over the wall on the south side, in the Count's rose garden. You've timed the guard routes, and you're about to make your next move, when a guard walks back into the rose garden. He should be over by the reflecting pool by now! And he's carrying a torch. The Count's guards don't usually carry torches. He's bent over, looking for something. That's when you notice it. A glove. Snagged on a rose thorn not six inches from your head. You look back at the guard. Yeah, he has only one glove tucked into his belt. He's headed right for you. What now?"

    The lesson I've learned about scene framing: start with something that can't be ignored. If I decide not to skip over the sneaking stuff, then there better be some sneaking stuff worth seeing. "Roll stealth to sneak in" is super lame. But with a strong scene frame, now we have a bang right in the player's face. Sure, now we can roll stealth and stuff, but it's about this circumstance, right now, up close and personal.
  • Right on, John. That runs a line pretty much up the center of where my tastes are at, and is a good enough guide for me to keep in mind as I turn to run my first session of Dictionary of Mu tomorrow.
  • Damn, John, nice. I'm writing that shit down.
  • Very cool, John.
  • "I want to get the Hand of Flame back from the Count. Let's sneak into his castle!"

    Ok. I'm the GM. You're the sole player.

    I place a map in the center of the game table. The map is 2x encounters-deep from starting point (the tavern) to uber-goal (The Hand Of Flame in the Count's innermost castle chamber.)

    I tell you to roll 2dx (bell curve) and add your PC's Stealth Trait Bonus or Stealth Die Roll, or whatever. The sum is how-far your PC gets before the Count shows up. High rolls could get you all the way to the treasure and a few steps back out toward the exit.

    Let's say the map is 20 enounters deep, so x=10 and your 2d10+Stealth result total is 14. You made it 14 encounters-in before getting caught. We don't narrate any of this happening, yet.

    You trace a route with a dry-wipe marker on the map, showing which 14 encounter-points you traversed thus far. Like drawing a path thru a maze.

    I give you an inventory list of which-particular 14 encounters you've accumulated: the healing potion, the clue that the Count is your father, the secret door behind-which your long-lost sister is held captive, The Key to the Hand Of Flame, etc.

    Now we're all set. Narration finally begins. We start narration with the moment when the Count shows up for the big showdown. Or even-when he's got you by the throat; dangling over the bottomless pit.

    You can 'use' any of the stuff in your inventory list, against him-- with the game-mechanic advantages that entails... But to do-so, you have to Activate each item by flashing-back in the narrative & first playing-out the encounter where you obtained said item.

    Anything you don't use was 'won' offscreen.
  • Posted By: TonyLBOkay folks, new scene to frame, complete with (as Fred wisely suggests) character issues.

    [snip]

    Frame me a scene!
    "Kyle, you're on the roof of the parking deck, tugging on the goat's leash as it strains to get at the potted plants lining the walkway to the elevator. Vicky is jumping up and down, waving her hands in frustration, yelling at you to leave the poor goat alone. Suddenly, you hear a sound like a radio squawk coming from the stairwell at the other corner of the roof: mall security is on its way up! What happens next?"

    Mall? check. Lost goat not coming quietly? check. Authority figures about to catch Kyle in incriminating circumstances? check. Vicky in full-blown not-listen mode? check. Still a chance for Kyle to reach his goal? check. Shit about to hit fan? *Big check*
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